13646: Confused about women covering their faces
First of all I must make clear that I have read your articles related to this topic. Although I have heard other evidences to suggest that the FACE veil is optional, due to the following:
(1)When the ayah was revealed commanding the believing women to cover (24:31) only the wives of the prophet covered themselves with a facial veil. The other Muslim women did not take steps to veil their faces.
(2)When some of the sahabah intended to propose to a women they would go and look at her without her knowledge. And of course if she had worn a facial veil they would not have been able to see her?
This topic is causing me much confusion please clarify the importance of the niqaab, I only want to do the correct thing for the sake of Allah.
Praise be to Allaah. Firstly:
We appreciate your keenness to find out the truth and follow it, and we ask Allaah to show us the truth as truth and enable us to follow it, and to show us falsehood as false and enable us to avoid it. The correct view regarding this matter is that it is obligatory for women to cover all of their bodies in front of men. See question no. 21134.
Your saying that “the rest of the Muslim women did not cover their faces” is not correct. Rather the command to observe full hijab applied to the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his daughters and the believing women. The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)”
The command in these two verses is general and applies to all believing women.
Al- Bukhaari narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “May Allaah have mercy on the first Muhaajir women. When Allaah revealed the words ‘and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)’ they tore their aprons and covered their faces with them.” See also question no. 6991.
Abu Dawood (4101) narrated that Umm Salamah said: “When the words ‘to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies’ [al-Ahzaab 33:59] were revealed, the women of the Ansaar went out looking as if there were crows on their heads because of the covering.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
The Muhaajir and Ansaari women obeyed this command and covered their faces.
With regard to a man looking at the woman to whom he wishes to propose marriage, this is part of the Sunnah. Abu Dawood (1783) narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘When any one of you wants to propose marriage to a woman, if he can look at that which will motivate him to go ahead and marry her, then let him do so.’ I proposed marriage to a girl and I used to hide myself until I saw that which motivated me to go ahead and marry her, then I married her.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 1832. In the report narrated by Ibn Maajah it says that he hid in her garden to see her.
This hadeeth indicates that the women of the Sahaabah used to cover their faces, because if it had been the custom for women to uncover their faces, there would have been no need to hide, because he would have been able to see her in any place if she had been uncovering her face.
But because it was the custom for women to cover their faces, he needed to hide. It is well known that if there are no non-mahram men around, a woman does not cover her face, such as when she is in her house or in her garden, as in this hadeeth.
And Allaah knows best.
21134: Do women have to wear niqaab?
Is wearing niqaab one of the conditions of Islamic dress for women?
Praise be to Allaah.
Hijaab in Arabic means covering or concealing. Hijaab is the name of something that is used to cover. Everything that comes between two things is hijaab.
Hijaab means everything that is used to cover something and prevent anyone from reaching it, such as curtains, door keepers and garments, etc.
Khimaar comes from the word khamr, the root meaning of which is to cover. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Khammiru aaniyatakum (cover your vessels).” Everything that covers something else is called its khimaar.
But in common usage khimaar has come to be used as a name for the garment with which a woman covers her head; in some cases this does not go against the linguistic meaning of khimaar.
Some of the fuqahaa’ have defined it as that which covers the head, the temples and the neck.
The difference between the hijaab and the khimaar is that the hijaab is something which covers all of a woman’s body, whilst the khimaar in general is something with which a woman covers her head.
Niqaab is that with which a woman veils her face (tantaqib)…
The difference between hijaab and niqaab is that the hijaab is that which covers all the body, whilst niqaab is that which covers a woman’s face only.
The woman’s dress as prescribed in sharee’ah (“Islamic dress”) is that which covers her head, face and all of her body.
But the niqaab or burqa’ – which shows the eyes of the woman – has become widespread among women, and some of them do not wear it properly. Some scholars have forbidden wearing it on the grounds that it is not Islamic in origin, and because it is used improperly and people treat it as something insignificant, demonstrating negligent attitudes towards it and using new forms of niqaab which are not prescribed in Islam, widening the opening for the eyes so that the cheeks, nose and part of the forehead are also visible.
Therefore, if the woman’s niqaab or burqa’ does not show anything but the eyes, and the opening is only as big as the left eye, as was narrated from some of the salaf, then that is permissible, otherwise she should wear something which covers her face entirely.
Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The hijaab prescribed in sharee’ah means that a woman should cover everything that it is haraam for her to show, i.e., she should cover that which it is obligatory for her to cover, first and foremost of which is the face, because it is the focus of temptation and desire.
A woman is obliged to cover her face in front of anyone who is not her mahram (blood relative to whom marriage is forbidden). From this we learn that the face is the most essential thing to be covered. There is evidence from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the views of the Sahaabah and the imams and scholars of Islam, which indicates that women are obliged to cover all of their bodies in front of those who are not their mahrams.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 1/ 391, 392)
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
The correct view as indicated by the evidence is that the woman’s face is ‘awrah which must be covered. It is the most tempting part of her body, because what people look at most is the face, so the face is the greatest ‘awrah of a woman. This is in addition to the shar’i evidence which states that it is obligatory to cover the face.
For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…”
Drawing the veil all over the juyoob implies covering the face.
When Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked about the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies”
[al-Ahzaab 33:59] –
he covered his face, leaving only one eye showing. This indicates that what was meant by the aayah was covering the face. This was the interpretation of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) of this aayah, as narrated from him by ‘Ubaydah al-Salmaani when he asked him about it.
In the Sunnah there are many ahaadeeth, such as: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The woman in ihraam is forbidden to veil her face (wear niqaab) or to wear the burqa’.” This indicates that when women were not in ihraam, women used to cover their faces.
This does not mean that if a woman takes off her niqaab or burqa’ in the state of ihraam that she should leave her face uncovered in the presence of non-mahram men. Rather she is obliged to cover it with something other than the niqaab or burqa’, on the evidence of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “We were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam, and when men passed by us, we would lower the khimaar on our heads over our faces, and when they moved on we would lift it again.”
Women in ihraam and otherwise are obliged to cover their faces in front of non-mahram men, because the face is the center of beauty and it is the place that men look at… and Allaah knows best.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 1/396, 397
He also said:
It is OK to cover the face with the niqaab or burqa’ which has two openings for the eyes only, because this was known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and because of necessity. If nothing but the eyes show, this is fine, especially if this is customarily worn by women in her society.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 1/399
And Allaah knows best.